TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan will dole out more incentives aimed at retaining talented workers and strengthening protection for company trade secrets, the deputy premier said on Friday, in a bid to counter China’s efforts to draw investment by Taiwan companies.
Beijing said last month it would treat Taiwan companies in certain sectors as equal to mainland companies to help reduce manufacturing and operating costs.
The move has sparked concern that the island could be further pulled into the economic orbit of its giant neighbor, which claims sovereignty over self-ruled Taiwan.
“The government will deal with the measures seriously and respond with practical solutions,” Taiwan’s deputy premier Shih Jun-ji told reporters.
“People should stick together and be fearless,” he said.
“We will continue to ban measures that may impact national security and harm people’s basic rights.”
Beijing has deepened efforts to build contacts with ordinary Taiwanese even though it has become increasingly hostile towards its president, Tsai Ing-wen of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, elected two years ago.
China suspects Tsai wants to declare the island’s formal independence, a red line for Beijing. Tsai has repeatedly said she wants to maintain peace with China.
In its latest policy pledge, Taiwan said it would introduce more incentives to retain talent from academics to startup investors.
The government also plans to shorten the review period for initial public offering (IPO) to six weeks from eight weeks.
Shih said Taiwan would “actively investigate” crimes related to trade secrets that were leaked to China in a move to strengthen legal protection for Taiwan companies.
Taiwan companies have flocked to China since the two sides begun a detente in the 1980s. About 470,000 people Taiwan work in China, official data from Taiwan show.
Taiwan’s Chinese policy-making authority has warned its companies and people to exercise caution and not rush into China’s embrace.
(Reporting By Yimou Lee)